Sutton and Ethan Montclair's idyllic life is not as it appears. They seem made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.
Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 25 novels, and the EMMY® award winning co-host of the literary TV show A WORD ON WORDS. She also writes urban fantasy under the pen name Joss Walker.
With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim and prestigious awards They have also been optioned for television, and published in 28 countries.
J.T. lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens, where she is hard at work on her next novel.
My official first book to finish in 2018, but I actually started this freak show in 2017. So, I'm mentally tossing it in my smallish pile of 2017 disappointments. I have got to start my reading challenge on a more positive note!
I'm at a complete loss as to the rave reviews this book has received. I believe the author was trying for a shock factor and she succeeded in garnering some early excitement. A hollow victory, the book is not worth reading and will not stand the test of time (or months).
Hey, no one loves plot twists more than me. But, just because a story has outrageous twists from every direction does not make it interesting! Plot twists must be executed correctly to work. And this book fails miserably. Not since Behind Her Eyes has a twisty book gotten me so cranky!
The "twists" are so ridiculous and convoluted in LIE TO ME that they have the opposite intended effect. The curve balls in this story wear you down to numbness. I truly felt nothing after each increasingly, "shocking" reveal.
Twists should be supported by narrative and evidence, maybe even hinted at with foreshadowing. In this way the reader does not feel cheated when the plot twist is revealed. A badly supported twist only makes the author appear lazy. I mean, heck, just pull anything out of the air and throw it in the kitchen sink. This novel is all over the place and uses every plot device known to mankind. I seriously do not think the author left out a single "whodunnit" cliche.
It's never a good sign when you constantly check to see how many more hours are left on your audiobook. This is a long-ass book. I did listen to the entire thing, right to the stupid ending, hoping for a nugget of something (believability?). Nada. Those are 11 hours and 36 minutes I will never get back. So many characters and I could not conjure a connection to a single one. Sad.
Psychological suspense is my go-to genre. Yes, this genre is for entertainment purposes. But, dear fiction writers, please do not assume that readers are so hungry for amusement as to buy into any trash you put out there. We do have brains and we like to use them while reading. Even in this genre.
SMART PEOPLE READ.Thank you for letting me preach a minute! I'm bracing for the disagreements now :-)
What a fabulous thriller. Secrets, lies and betrayal! The perfect, juicy recipe! The twists in this book take you in directions you could never imagine. So good!
Ethan returns home to find his wife Sutton, missing. After exhausting all connections with friends and family, he’s at a complete loss. Should he take the next logical step and call the police? Or just keep looking on his own? After all, isn’t the husband the first one on the police radar when a spouse goes missing?
Ethan also has an image to protect - he’s a best-selling author. His current project is based on his wife, and in fact, their life! Probably a mere coincidence – right? Hhmmm….
Told in two time-lines: THEN - When Ethan and Sutton were first falling in love. NOW- When their marriage is falling apart.
He said/she said. Who has more to hide? More to lose? There are so many more layers of deception that will keep you guessing right to the end. I thought I had it all figured out, too! (A couple times, in fact) Ha! Hope you will end up with the same surprise I had! Highly recommended for all thriller fans!
A traveling sister read with Norma, Brenda and Susanne!
Thank you to NetGalley, HQ Digital and J.T. Ellison for an advanced copy to review in exchange for an honest review.
Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison is a 2017 Mira Books publication.
The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places-
Sutton and Ethan, both authors, marry after a whirlwind romance. But, the marriage hits the skids after a string of disappointments and tragedy.
However, the couple was slowly working things out, according to Ethan. But, one morning he wakes up and discovers that Sutton has simply vanished. She left a note, apologizing and asking that he not try to find her. But, she’s left behind all her belongings, her identification, and purse, which sets off massive alarm bells for Ethan.
Once the police get involved, they begin digging into Sutton and Ethan’s personal life, their finances and the state of their marriage, which reveals a myriad of juxtapositions, half-truths, outright lies, and many, many secrets.
Before long, Ethan has become the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance.
Had Sutton simply walked away from her life to get away from Ethan? Or has something far more nefarious occurred?
‘Life is full of confusion. Confusion of love, passion, and romance. Confusion of family and friends. Confusion with life itself. What path we take, What turns we make. How we roll our dice.’ Matthew Underwood
As is typical with J.T Ellison, nothing is as it appears, and to let your guard down for a nanosecond is ill advised.
This is a very convoluted, mind bender which begins on one path, but veers off onto another, then another, then another. The characters are morally bankrupt, making it impossible to drum up any compassion for them, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it makes them seem more suspect and not even a little bit trustworthy.
As a brief side note- I got a kick out of the sub-plot involving the book reviewer and the blogger, and ‘authors behaving badly’. I’ve really seen it happen on several occasions and everyone involved ends up looking bad. Not that I haven’t put in my two cents worth on FB when an author literally copies and pastes a critical review and then has their colleagues and fans dissect it or start flame wars, which is pretty much the point Ellison was getting at, I think. It was so true and darkly humorous. But, I digress…
I love a thriller with well-timed, mind blowing twists and turns. So, you could say I got my wish with this novel- but in this case it might be a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’.
Plot twists are fun, especially when you don’t know they are coming. I promise you won’t see them coming in advance, with this novel, even if you have figured out the plot, or know who the enemy is, because there are just too many of them.
The initial buildup takes a little time, but when the narrative switches gears, which was a bit jarring, at that point it is just one big surprise after another.
As everyone knows, I can be jaded, but tolerant, when it comes to thrillers. I can often pinpoint who the killer is early on, which I did in this case, right off the bat, and more seasoned readers of crime fiction will spot those tell- tale signs, too. I also figured out where the plot was headed, but I must admit, this roller coaster ride was a little fun, because I never could rest back on my laurels and ponder what might be coming next. The big reveals, once they got rolling, came at me at rapid fire pacing, so that I couldn’t digest one, before I had to deal with yet another wild and crazy dilemma.
While this can be a nice challenge on occasion, in some cases, it can backfire. I either end up feeling exhausted or the big twists lose their shock and awe effect quickly and I become desensitized to them.
It’s almost like eating an entire bag of candy all at once, instead of enjoying only one or two pieces at a time, which normally doesn’t end well. It was just a little too much of a good thing, and it spiraled out of control, in my opinion.
The nice build up completely unraveled in the second part of the book, disrupting the carefully constructed flow, leaving everything a bit uneven. But, I did appreciate the defiance of convention, and no one could ever accuse this book of being boring, that’s for sure.
This author definitely has a vivid imagination, and knows how to keep readers interested and engaged, if even when things go wonky, defies logic, or offends my ability to suspend belief. While I really do like J.T. Ellison, and I did enjoy some aspects of this novel and found it to be entertaining on many fronts, it was just too over the top for my taste. 3 stars
'The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places.' - Ernest Hemingway. .......... and some are just broken.
Lie to Me opens with the words 'You aren't going to like me very much'................'Truly, you are going to despise me. I am the rot that lives in the floorboards of your house. I am the spider that shuttles away when you shine a light in my corner, ever watching, ever waiting. I am the shard of glass that slits the skin of your bare foot. I am all the bad things that happen to you.'
I was hooked from the first page.
Sutton and Ethan Montclair both love and hate each other. Their jealousy and rivalry is both personal and professional. On the anniversary of the death of their baby, Sutton disappears. Was Sutton Montclair responsible for her baby's death? Or was it Ethan? Did she kill the baby, lose her mind, fake her own death, set up her husband? Or has Ethan orchestrated the whole thing to make her look mentally unstable? People have done worse. .....
I love the writing style. The chapters are short, gritty and to the point. Chapter titles (not numbers) are enticing - eg DID SHE OR DIDN'T SHE?
The pace of Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison is frantic. It doesn't allow you to draw a breath. It twists and turns and twists again. Every time I thought I was even close to sorting it all out, Ellison would turn everything on its head. It was like trying to read a kaleidoscope; the picture kept changing, but it was never pretty.
'I told you at the beginning you weren't going to like me very much. You really don't like me right now, do you? Am I a horrible person? A loathsome creature? You bet. I 'm evil to the core. And I warned you. I warned you, and you didn't listen. ...'
And now a warning from me - don't miss reading this book. Lie to Me must be one of, if not THE best psychological thriller of 2017.
Thank you to Harlequin (Australia) via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
The first half of the book I kept thinking I'd read this book before, and yes I had. Gone Girl. In this case the comparisons are dead on. Missing wife, husband a suspect, but someone - or everyone -is an unreliable narrator.
After reading a few positive reviews I persevered, convinced things would turn around and make it worth my time. But the story dragged. It's never a good sign when you're ready for a book to be over and you see you have hours of audio left. Maybe this one would be better read in print than listening.
Then the story jumped the shark. There were so many twists and turns and convoluted plot threads that I couldn't help but think: Less is more! Some twists literally made no sense and my eyes began to roll. Without resorting to spoilers, I'll also say the sudden personality turnaround of several characters was unbelievable. And that ending - what the heck?!
On the positive side, it was imaginative and inventive, just a little too much. Too much of everything. Recommend for ardent fans of psychological suspense who can quiet their inner critic.
** be aware the death of a baby is central to the plot. I wish I had known.
Hard to like a man that compares his wife to a thoroughbred. So, I started off right away disliking Ethan. I don't care that two pages later he talks about how her leaving him broke his heart.
This is one screwed up marriage. In the first half, you only see Sutton from what Ethan tells us. But she is definitely messed up, as hard to like as he is. Ellison does a great job of communicating the whole love-hate relationship. She also does a great job of that what to do next tension. I mean, we all read enough mysteries to know the spouse is the likeliest suspect. Ethan knows it too and really anguishes about when to bring the police in, what to tell them, whether to hire a lawyer.
The second half of the book is told from Sutton’s view point. I didn't find that this part worked as well. It lacked the tension of the first half.
Then there is the unknown narrator who starts the book off and pops up throughout. You're just given very brief glimpses of this person. I started having my suspicions about half way through the book.
While the two spouses are very unlikeable, luckily, Holly, the policewoman is not. She's young, she's smart and she's trying very hard, but this is her first investigation. She struggles with whether her intuition is accurate. I found her thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, I'm thinking part of the reason I wasn't as drawn to Sutton’s part of the book was that Holly wasn't in it.
And it turns out my suspicions about the unknown narrator were right. Not that I had a clue as to the reasons. Those reasons are the weakest part of the book. A brilliant start, but a flawed ending.
Domestic thrillers are one of my go to sub genres, there is something completely fascinating about getting a glimpse into a couples marriage beyond what is seen in public. There’s a reason books featuring couples with secrets and betrayals is so huge right now, for me it’s because I love the idea of being a fly on the wall during the unraveling of a marriage. (Yes, I do realize how terrible that sounds) I have seen many people comparing this to Gone Girl and while I can definitely see why, Lie To Me stands firmly on it’s own two feet and I personally think it’s better than GG.
The narration in this book is flawless, the first half is told from Ethan’s point of view, then the second half switches to Sutton’s perspective. While these two both had compelling stories and strong voices the addition of a third unknown narrator added something downright menacing to the story. This person speaks directly to the reader in a bitter, cruel voice that chilled me right to the bone. The chapters were brief, the type that beg you to keep going for just one more chapter and before you know it, it’s the wee hours of the morning. Speaking of chapters they were all so cleverly titled which doesn’t happen much anymore, but the title gave a little hint as to what was to come next, I loved that! The story unfolds mainly in the present but there are times when it flips back to various times in Sutton and Ethan’s relationship that helped to shed light on how they came to be at the awful point they’re at today.
Sutton and Ethan are both writers and I loved the insight into the industry this provided. Their careers played a large role in the downfall of their relationship as they were both competitive and jealous causing huge rifts in a already fragile marriage. Neither of them were very likable or relatable but they were both utterly fascinating despite their flaws. There was an air of glamour surrounding them even though I knew they weren’t as perfect as they seemed on paper. As for reliability? Forget it, I couldn’t get a true handle on whether either of them were trustworthy right until the bitter end.
You may have noticed that I haven’t really touched on the plot and that’s because there were so many head spinning revelations throughout that I’m not even gonna go there. Ellison would gently lead me down one path and then just when I would start to feel confident and that I knew what was going on she would shove me in the opposite direction leaving me reeling and back to square one.
This was an entertaining, dramatic read that had me addicted from its opening pages. It’s sharp and intelligently crafted and delivered twists and turns right up until the final pages. If you’re a fan of books like Behind Closed Doors, The Marriage Lie and The Couple Next Door you’ll love this one!
Hooked. Yes, that was me. From the First Sentence, all the way to the Last. Something about the writing style grabbed hold. I can’t explain it. I loved it. I hope you will too.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair are married writers, living quite the life. It’s idyllic – and seems perfect in every way. Yet as we all know, nothing is ever as it seems.
One morning, Ethan wakes up and his wife Sutton is nowhere to be found. What he finds instead of his wife Sutton, is a note from her: "I'm leaving for a while. Don't look for me.” Instead of contacting the police, he contacts her friends, knowing as the “husband” he would be the first suspect. Their friends all have different stories as to why Sutton may have left or disappeared and what Ethan’s involvement may have been. Did she leave or did he kill her? That is the question of the day.
I had my own theory from the get go. I was partially right, I just didn’t figure out the why. And let me tell you, it was totally cray, cray.
The novel is narrated by Ethan, Sutton and an unknown individual. Ethan and Sutton’s story is told in two timelines: the beginning of their relationship and the breakdown of it. You know what they say, everyone loves love: we love to watch a couple who is falling in love, and sadly, we are just as fascinated to watch the breakdown of a relationship. Ethan and Sutton’s marriage is an absolutely wild ride, and it is one I suggest you take.
This was a traveling sister read with Brenda, Norma and Kaceey. Kaceey and I tore through it and couldn’t wait for Brenda and Norma to finish. Reading it with my sisters was a lot of fun.
Thank you to NetGalley, HQ Digital and J.T. Ellison for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Published on NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook on 11.6.17.
Like the Rolling Stones singing loud and clear: "You can't always get what you want."
And this one seems to set me outside the perimeter of shinier star ratings. I find myself standing alone on a darkened corner with no taxi in sight.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair are a married couple living in Franklin, Tennessee. Both of these individuals are novelists. Ethan crafts best-selling books and Sutton sticks with historical romances. There appears to be more that shifts this odd couple in opposing directions than what binds them together. Sadly, no truce in sight.
Ethan comes home to a note left in the kitchen by Sutton: "I'm leaving for a while. Don't look for me." But Ethan starts to contact her best friends who have no idea where she is. We'll meet the Ice Queen of the Century in the likes of Sutton's mother. Ethan feels it's best to lawyer up.....just in case. Advice, both good and bad, starts pouring in. Where is Sutton and does Ethan have that shadow of guilt when one's wife goes missing?
J.T. Ellison creates a constantly ballooning storyline here. The reader climbs the escalating layers of marital indiscretions, unwanted pregnancies, careers tanking, a missing spouse, a dead body, overzealous police, mistaken identities, alcohol abuse, and unstable personalities. And that's just in the first half of this book. Ellison throws everything imaginable into this plot at an almost breathless rate. You can't get to the last pages without stepping over more landmines in the road from American to foreign soil, too.
The chosen characters are a very unlikeable lot. They are certainly not going to give you "the feels" in any way, shape, or form. The sole level-headed individual in the entire book is the rookie detective, Holly Graham, who seems to be the only one "adulting" her way through this book.
Most certainly, read this one for yourself. You may arrive at a totally different conclusion than I did. The higher ratings by others prove that. It was just overkill for me. Perhaps I will get what I want from Santa in the next J.T. Ellison book. Only cut out all the fancy bows and tinsel.....
I received a copy of Lie to Me through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to J.T. Ellison and Mira Books for the opportunity.
Why This Book I selected Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison, when it was available on NetGalley about 3 months ago, after enjoying a prior book by this author. I'm glad I did as it was very engaging and twisty. I chose it this weekend because I am trying to get to a '0' count on NetGalley TBR books and other ARCs so that I can start 2018 with a clean and fresh slate to choose new reads.
Approach & Style I read this ~400 page book on my iPad through Kindle Reader over ~5 hours in one day. It is written in third-person POV from a few different character perspectives, including the killer, the husband and the wife. It switches back and forth a few times, but is usually clear and clean when it does.
Plot, Characters & Setting Ethan and Sutton, both authors jealous of each other's work, have been married for a few years despite fighting a lot. They lost a baby a few years ago and there might have been an affair or two, it's unclear at first. Sutton leaves a note that she needs space and no one should look for her outside their Tennessee hometown; Ethan thinks there is foul play and begins to check with her friends and family. Eventually, he loops in the cops and a full investigation opens. It's difficult to provide anymore details without giving away the plot, but there are tons of twists involving bloggers, reviewers, friends, family and murders in another country. Nothing is as it seems and you never quite know who to trust.
Strengths The cast of characters is varied and diverse. You get a sense of love and hatred from almost all of them. The sub-plots are nicely woven into the overall story. The drama and suspense are at a good level -- not too over-the-top, not too weak. The writing style is strong and inviting.
Concerns The two main characters aren't very likable. They both seem to treat each other poorly, which makes readers uncertain about rooting for them. Ultimately, the he said / she said dilemma leaves you thinking at the end that there are a few too many open-ended situations. While some intensity and far-out plot points are necessary to keep the thrills high, there are a few pieces that either fell too short or went a bit too far for me. Not enough to have a problem with the work, but enough to hold it back from being a true stellar read. Overall, it's a typical twisty thrill ride, but because of solid writing and good characters, I'd recommend it to others as a good read.
Author & Other Similar Books It's very similar to Gone Girl. VERY similar.
Questions & Final Thoughts I like these types of books. I turn the pages quickly. I get invested. I like the balance between reality and chaos. The author is a good writer. It's a definite recommend from me for a quick weekend read, but it's not the "oh my god you have to read this book" type of situation.
About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Traveling Sisters Read with Brenda, Kaceey & Susanne
3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars!
LIE TO ME by J.T. ELLISON is an interesting and intriguing domestic psychological thriller novel that was quite the imaginative, entertaining and fun book to read.
J.T. ELLISON delivers a gripping and fast-paced read here with plenty of twists and turns that had me guessing right up until the very end. Nothing is quite as it appears to be and had me questioning almost everything that was happening within the pages of this book. The story slowly builds suspense which starts off with an unknown narrator, then the husband and then switches narrative to the wife which created some tension and suspicion to the storyline.
I really like when an author adds in an unknown narrator as it is always fun trying to figure out who it is and how they are connected to the story. In this case my suspicions of who it was were correct but I didn’t really know what the connection was and the reasoning behind it.
I thought this story started off strong and was pretty good with so many twist and turns and there were some surprises along the way but then there were some twists that literally made no sense to me and had me questioning the reasoning behind it. Huh, what just happened?
To sum it all up it was an entertaining, fun, interesting, and a quick and easy read with an ending that I wasn’t totally satisfied with. Would recommend!
In addition to reading this book, I purchased myself a copy of the audiobook and I thoroughly enjoyed the performances by all the narrators and thought they all delivered the perfect voices for the characters to make this an enjoyable and entertaining read.
Thank you so much to NetGalley, HQ Digital, and J.T. Ellison for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!!
Ethan Montclair finds a note left from his wife, Sutton, that tells him that she needs to leave and not to look for her. Normally this would seem to be pretty cut and dry that Sutton had decided to leave their marriage but Ethan does not believe that to be the case this time. Ethan and Sutton had lost their son exactly a year before and he's worried that there is more to Sutton's disappearance than wanting out of the marriage and that she might actually hurt herself.
Ethan decides to call the police with his concerns over Sutton and with all of her things left behind and no contact with anyone an investigation is opened into the matter. Once it's out there that Sutton has gone missing the media are all over the story since Ethan and Sutton are both known authors. The police do begin to investigate but it's quickly found that no one involved gives them the truth. Stories begin to change the longer that Sutton is gone and quickly the case turns into looking at Ethan for Sutton's murder even without a body being found.
Lie To Me by J.T. Ellison is a psychological thriller that was certainly a quite compelling read that had the pages flying by as each secret is uncovered and the twists and turns begin to pile up. The story is told from varying points of view including some rather creepy passages coming from whomever it is behind what has happened to the missing wife. The couple in question in the story are ones that seem to have that perfect life until it's put under a microscope and the secrets and lies come to light.
Reading this story I didn't find Ethan to be too terribly likable which he even admits that he comes across that way in the story but this put a few suspicions into my mind early on and made me think that this book would be easy to figure out. Boy oh boy was I wrong on that count thankfully. Honestly when finished I don't see how any reader could possibly guess where this journey will take them and that made for one completely riveting read. This one would be for those that enjoy a complex thriller that has plenty of twists that will have your brain resembling a pretzel when finally coming to the shocking conclusion, definitely a great read.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
Sutton and Ethan are writers who have been married for a while. One morning, Ethan wakes up as usual only to find his wife gone and a note from her asking that he not try to find her.
It appears that she has left him except for the fact that she has left all her things behind. Is the note really from her? Why has she left her belongings? Does Ethan know more that he lets on? All these and more questions arise.
The novel is narrated from different points of view. As it progresses, secrets from the characters are slowly revealed. I found it engaging but a little longer than it should have been. There are also some events that I did not find believable or relatable and I had to suspend my disbelief to continue reading.
Overall it was ok. I recommend it to readers of thrillers and contemporary fiction.
Ethan & Sutton Montclair were literary fiction writers & had the perfect home The perfect marriage or did they? everything was perfect so Ethan thought until he found a note from Sutton saying I am leaving please don't look for me!!
Having an image to protect he got Joel Robinson that Sutton's personality changed after losing her son Dashiell died Sutton was also hiding a secret, Ethan found 50.000.00 dollars missing from their investment account & Sutton had looked up borderline personality disorder , this sends Ethan into action.
There were a lot of twists & turns, thought I had it worked out but again no am not a super sleuth, the characters were totally flawed in my opinion Ethan & Sutton were like chalk & Cheese each had their own agenda's they deserved each other. It was an okay read I cant relate to the rich as I am just a average normal woman who pays the bills lol but all in all was just okay. I think this was more a domestic read than a thriller.
The Premise goes from then - to when they were married to now- after Sutton dissappers oh & just one little thing the print is quite small just a headsup for those who have problems with print size.
I was expecting a dark domestic noir thriller, and instead what I got was two assholes who married each other and could have avoided a lot of shit if they'd just, I don't know, talked like people who got married for a reason. But like, if the love is gone, just break up.
But anyway, I binge-read this. I would definitely call it a page-turner, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's good, you know?
The book is divided, roughly, into two parts: Ethan's perspective, then his missing wife, Sutton's.
We open with Ethan and I stayed up until almost three in the morning reading Ethan's part of the book. The first half was soooo gooooood. It was laying breadcrumbs, setting up characters, and creating some interesting cliffhangers and unknowns. The suspense was building with all the clues and evidence... and then it stopped. And we switch to Sutton's point of view, which was a steep decline in action. It felt so disjointed, in terms of pacing and plotting.
What really doesn't sit right with me
That's not a twist ending, it's bullshit. Sorry.
The first half of the book was A+, but the second half was *fart noises* and the ending felt like my time was wasted.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair seem to have it all. They are both writers, they make good money, have a beautiful home, and they love each other. Or so it seems ...
The truth is something entirely different. Ethan had a one night affair, a night he doesn't remember but someone has a picture. They had a child, a little boy, who died of SIDS. They blame each other for his death.
They have a life built almost entirely on lies.
One morning Ethan comes downstairs, expecting to see his wife fixing breakfast ... but she isn't there. She left a note ... don't try to find me. But then Ethan discovers that his wife left with absolutely nothing .. not her purse, not her phone, not her laptop.
Once the police get involved, Ethan becomes the number one suspect and all of Sutton's friends and even her own mother, think he had something to do with her disappearance.
And then a body is found.
I have read several of this author's books. I can genuinely say that this book has elevated her writing several levels. This is an extremely well written psychological thriller.
Ethan tells his side of the story ... but it doesn't match what Sutton has told her friends. Who has lied? And why? There is also a third voice in the mix .... who is this person?
The characters are very cleverly written... and not all of them are anyone I would personally like to know. Ethan is a bit controlling, wanting everything his way. He wants a child and he doesn't care if Sutton wants one or not. He switches out her birth control pills and she becomes pregnant. He's rather proud of that. Sutton confuses me at times. She is not without issues, but she's very secretive about her childhood.
Sutton's mother is more interested in her daughter giving her a rather generous stipend every month and doesn't seem to be too concerned about her daughter's disappearance. Sutton's friends are varied .. and yet which one do you believe?
My favorite character is Holly, the patrol officer who is given the chance to work the case. She's young, she's idealistic, but she's got a real feel for justice. When it comes right down to it, she doesn't think Ethan has done anything to his wife, but the older, more experience boys in blue pooh pooh her thoughts. She's tenacious and she doesn't let them convince her of anything other than what they can prove.
So many twists and turns and surprises await the reader at every corner. I absolutely could not put this one down until the very last last page.
Many thanks to the author / Harlequin (US & Canada) / Netgalley for the digital copy of this psychological suspense. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
I read Lie To Me with three of my Traveling sisters. We squeezed this one in between our other sister reads and we weren’t really on schedule with each other. We didn’t really discuss this one that much. So for this review, I will stick with my thoughts.
Lie to Me is a purely entertaining and intriguing psychological thriller revolving around some domestic violence. I found the story to be unique in the way the domestic violence was portrayed as I felt J.T Ellison touched on the violence and used it for the convenience of the story. The story felt like I was watching a soap opera in my head and for me, that was a good thing. For many years when my children were young my guilty pleasure was watching my favorite soap for an hour a day. That's what this story felt like to be a guilty pleasure with the over the top dramatic scenes that felt a bit scandalous and doubtful at times giving me that perfect guilty pleasure escape I craved for many years.
Ellison does a good job giving some creepiness to the story with an unnamed character that sent shivers down my spine. I thought she gave this story just the right amount of balance with the soap opera feel to it and the unpredictable twists and turns that made this a very fun and entertaining read for me. I will admit I was a bit surprised I enjoyed this one so much. I highly recommend for readers who like a little guilty pleasure with their stories.
Thank you so much to NetGalley, HQ Digital, and J.T. Ellison for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Wow. I really didn't like this one. I never enjoy writing an unfavorable review but this was like a never ending soap opera that got less believable and more kooky as the story went on. This book has so many 4 and 5 star reviews, I question whether the audio exacerbated the soap opera tone of things and perhaps that was less apparent in written form. Several people performed this audio, yet each only read when it was his section, so women performed male voices and vice versa. This didn't work at all, making it sometimes difficult to determine who was speaking and often comedic in the efforts. There were many odd word pairings throughout, such as "aggressive, thrusting buildings," cat who mewed in a "friendly, French way," a woman who "was peppermint sick." Other sentences just seemed wrong, like "I didn't use to be this way" or "Bullets in our head are a forgone conclusion." So, I was challenged with the actual writing, as well as the story, which had too many unbelievable twists and became absurd toward the end. Unfortunately.
My final comments will be spoiler-tagged. Please only read them if you don't plan to read the book or have already read it.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair seem to have it all, but behind closed doors there is a lot of tension and they have trust issues. Sutton leaves a note for Ethan saying that she is leaving him and for him not to look for her. Has Sutton left on her own or has something tragic happened to her? Ethan finds it necessary to hire a lawyer, but is he responsible?
I found that there were so many characters/narrators that I would just become distracted (the audio perhaps at fault again) and there were some twists that just seemed far-reaching. I just wasn't able to connect with the book and therefore it really didn't work too well for me.
Give it a try and see what you think, you may have better luck than I did! There are lots of higher ratings.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair are professional writers - he a famous author of literary fiction and she a commercially successful writer of romance novels. They seem to have it all - a beautiful house they renovated in style, a good marriage, financial security and a gorgeous baby boy. Although Sutton hadn't wanted to have a child at first, she has come to adore baby Dashiell and is devastated when he dies of SIDS. She suffers depression, Ethan starts drinking too much and cracks in the marriage start to appear. However, Ethan is still shocked when he wakes up one morning to find Sutton missing and a note saying she has left and not to look for her.
Sutton hasn't taken any clothes, purse or money, her accounts haven't been touched, her passport's not missing and none of her friends have any idea where she could have gone. The police think it's most likely that she has been murdered and Ethan is of course their number one suspect.
Neither Sutton nor Ethan are very likeable people and have kept secrets and told lies to each other. Ethan's guilt looks more likely as secrets he's covered up are found out. But there is a third narrative voice - someone who knows more than they should. Who is this person and what role have they played in Sutton's sudden disappearance?
This is a slow boiler of a psychological thriller, a dark domestic twisted drama, with the unexpected truth exploding in the last few chapters as all is revealed. If anything, perhaps it was all tied together a bit too neatly but was nevertheless a novel to be raced through until the the lies are gradually ferreted out and the truth becomes clear.
With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Harlequin Australia for a copy to read and review.
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com A domestic noir novel that delves into the complicated life of a literary couple, authors Ethan and Sutton Montclair, forms the core of J.T. Ellison’s latest novel, Lie To Me. Ellison’s new release opens the wounds of a crumbling marriage, exposing a whole host of secrets, lies and betrayals.
Ethan and Sutton Montclair are the perfect couple, leading a lavish lifestyle, aided by their mutual success in the publishing world. While Ethan is a literary writer, Sutton is a powerhouse in the commercial fiction field. However, cracks have begun to emerge in this couple’s happy marriage. Ethan’s roving eye, combined with the tragic death of their infant son Dashiell and threats to Sutton’s credibility as an author has put the Montclair’s in damage control. One morning, Ethan wakes to find his wife missing, her belongings are still in the family home but a note from Sutton is found by Ethan, informing him that she needs a break and that he shouldn’t try to find her. Ethan is frantic and calls all Sutton’s friends and family, in the hope that he will get to the bottom of her disappearance. When those closest to Sutton are unable to offer up any answers to her whereabouts, Ethan has not choice but to enlist the help of the police. Immediately after reporting Sutton as a missing person, Ethan falls under suspicion of the police. The police, along with the reader must decide of Ethan is responsible for his wife’s disappearance and work as quickly as they can to relocate Sutton, before it’s too late.
My introduction to the work of author J.T. Ellison was a great experience. Lie to Me is one of those addictive suspense novels that I had to try my hardest to read in one sitting and into the wee hours of the morning. Ellison’s latest novel is a dark and chilling story of a disintegrating marriage. It is full of twists and is completely unpredictable. I think Lie To Me is a worthy addition to the psychological thriller genre, made popular by novels such as Gone Girl, a book Lie To Me has been compared to, with merit.
Ellison uses an effective style of storytelling to unveil the narrative. The book shifts from the past to present, revealing pivotal anecdotes about the leading couple’s past. The narrative also delves into the state of the couple’s marriage of late, which we soon learn is far from perfect. It is obvious Ethan and Sutton are still in love with each other but have found their marriage tested by Ethan’s womanising ways and the sad death of their baby son, Dashiell. The first half of the narrative is focussed on Ethan’s point of view, giving the reader a solid outline of his character. I had Ethan pinned down initially as an unreliable narrator, as I felt like I just couldn’t trust him. The second half of the novel is narrated by Sutton. I really enjoyed this section of the novel, as the setting changed and the pace seemed to shift. There is a third voice that comes into play in Lie To Me, an outsider, who has a bitter and twisted tone to their short chapter inclusions. Cleverly, the identity of this narrator is withheld by Ellison until near the close of the novel. Ellison ensured this narrative trick encouraged me to continue reading Lie To Me frantically, until I discovered the identity of the mysterious third narrator.
Ellison’s characterisation is a strength in this novel. Ellison works hard to build a picture of each of the leading protagonists featured in the book. Lie To Me shows us how appearances can be deceptive. In the case of the Montclair’s, Ethan is a far from perfect husband, with a wandering eye, he is categorised as a cheat. The reader is also led on a path to believe that he is responsible for the disappearance of his wife and his baby son’s death, initially classed as a SIDS case. Ethan has an air of mistrust from the very beginning of the book and it is hard for the reader to take a liking to him. Sutton was a character I grew to care for and I genuinely hoped that she would be found alive. Sutton’s disappearance was the perfect motivation for me to continue to turn the pages of this book at a steady rate. Holly, the officer in the US assigned to Sutton’s case is another character that is well drawn by J.T. Ellison. I admired Holly’s sense of justice and determination to solve the case correctly. Holly’s firm belief in Ethan’s innocence made her a worthy character.
Setting wise, I loved that Ellison took us from Franklin, Tennessee in the United States, through to a significant chunk set in the cosmopolitan location of Paris. The scenes in Paris were perfectly phrased and portrayed a strong sense of place. The scenery change from the US to France enables Ellison to examine police methods in both the US and Paris in relation to Sutton’s case. These police methods are quite contrasted, making for an interesting read.
Lie To Me is without a doubt an explosive read, offering many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. This is an unpredictable novel and the use of an unidentified third narrator really works to heighten the tension in the book. There is a flooring twist that occurs near the latter part of the novel that served to raise my appreciation for this dark psychological thriller further.
A sharp psychological thriller that delves into the sketchy world of a glamorous literary couple, Lie To Me is the perfect antidote to those who love harrowing suspense novels. J.T. Ellison has certainly succeeded in creating an addictive page turner.
*I wish to thank Harlequin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
From the outside, Ethan and Sutton Montclair have a perfect life. But as the saying goes, appearances can be deceiving. Their life is instead filled with professional implosions, emotional betrayal, and the still raw grief from the loss of their son.
So when Ethan discovers a note from Sutton telling him that she needs some time apart, he searches the house for clues fearing that she’s taken her own life. But instead of finding her belongings missing they’re all still present and accounted for. Quickly realizing that he’s going to be the prime suspect in her disappearance regardless of what has happened, he starts to fear that the secrets they’ve both been hiding will eventually be revealed. Did Ethan kill Sutton? Or did someone set him up?
As the pressure mounts, thanks to the police, the media, and idle gossip of friends and family, Ethan will learn who his wife was at her core. And she might not be who he thought she was. But then, neither is he.
Holy cow! From a character you’ll love to hate to the best first line I’ve read in quite some time, Lie to Me is fast-paced, twisty, and thoroughly addictive. So addictive that I found myself shutting out the world in order to read more of the 400 pages. Trying to be an impartial reviewer, I always attempt to be fair and include things I might not like about the books I read, but for this one I was almost at a loss. This book is simply better for all its parts, even a slight downshift in in pace for a few moments (seriously, that’s all it was) about midway through the book. I’d tell you more, but it might give away some of the plot if I did and I hate doing that.
The story is told in multiple points-of-view and timelines, which provides a complete picture where every perspective is covered, even the antagonist’s. The twists and turns were nearly unguessable, but the book nevertheless tempts you to try and work the puzzle out. At one point, I found myself with an idea of what might be going on. Happily, however, I was quickly convinced that I was wrong. Well, mostly wrong.
J.T. Ellison has combined all of the best ingredients to write a near-perfect thriller. The second book I’ve read of hers, I’m now going to rush out and read some more as both grabbed me from the first sentence and didn’t let go until the last. I obviously recommend this book and I’m sure you can guess the next bit… Rating of 5+++ stars.
Trigger warning: loss of a child, abortion, suicide, drug and alcohol use, physical abuse
Lie to me is a psychological thriller with plenty of twists & turns, secrets and lies to keep you on your toes.
Ethan and Sutton are married. Sutton goes missing! Ethan becomes the suspect!
Ethan and Sutton really do have a love / hate relationship built on jealousy, anger, love, hate and rivalry.
So why has Sutton gone missing? Could Ethan really be capable of getting rid of her?
In parts this story gets quiet dark. But it creates a great creepy ambience. Ethan and Sutton are not characters you want to like. But i think that just added to the depth of the story. They are not meant to be liked.
The second half of the story for me is when the story came alive. All the twists and turns, the secrets it all started coming together. Did i guess the ending. I had an inkling.
Lie to me is written in past and present with short chapters which I prefer as it keeps my attention.
I would like to thank Netgalley and HQ Digtial for my copy, in which I voluntarily reviewed.
If so, this one kinda actually fits the comparison since it’s about a man who wakes up only to discover his wife is not in bed. Turns out she isn’t in the kitchen dutifully making his breakfast either, which in my house would probably earn him a . . . .
Or, at minimum . . . .
So what is the story? Did Sutton finally have enough of Ethan’s shenanigans and come to the realization that . . . .
Or did something nefarious happen?
Okay, so Lie To Me definitely wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed Gone Girl so this one having a bit of the same vibe was A-okay for me. It was quite the page turner and I can’t say I ever lost interest despite it being a bit lengthier than most domestic thrillers. The thing that lost me? All the “twists and turns.” Unfortunately I saw all of them coming from about a block and a half away, excluding the one on the very last page and that one left me feeling . . . . .
It was just too much. And I’m still not positive it makes sense when it comes to all the other things that happened in the book. But I probably just read it wrong.
The part that I absolutely read right (and the reason this gets a full 3 Stars rather than 2.5) was the “Badly Behaving Author” subplot. Ripped straight out of the pages of Goodreads (or True Reads or some such that I can’t remember because I forgot to highlight the name used in this book and I have old lady brain and now the library copy has expired), many of you will recognize the similarities to an actual event that took place here around four years ago when an author not only responded to a 1 Star review, but ended up at the reviewer’s doorstep. In my fantasy world J.T. Ellison is a pen name for that author – especially when I got to the part that It doesn’t appear that’s the case, but it didn’t make that part of the story less enjoyable. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
Captivating, spellbinding, and a whirlwind of chaos. Those are the first things that pop into my head after reading J.T. Ellison's Lie to Me . Seriously, one of the best books I've read this year! Lie to Me sets the stage with Ethan and Sutton Montclair residing in their home in Franklin, Tennessee. Ethan finds a note from his beloved wife basically telling him she's left him and to not look for her. Confused, desperate, and unsure, Ethan begins a search of his own. As the police investigate, lies begin to unravel and secrets begin to be uncovered. Someone's lying, but who?
This was my first book by J.T. Ellison and it will definitely not be my last. I just want to note that I am soooo happy that Mira Books did not compare this to Gone Girl. However, this book kept me guessing until almost the very end. I really encourage you to pick this one up if you are looking for something original, but sinister.
Sutton Montclair’s marriage to Ethan is teetering on the edge. They constantly argue about prior infidelities while their financial problems continue to grow. It also doesn't help that they are both authors with competitive streaks. Sutton has not been herself since the death of their infant from SIDS. She is afraid to go out on her own, and often finds herself unloading her problems to friends.
Ethan awakes one morning to find Sutton gone. She has left a note note explaining that she needs time alone and that he shouldn't look for her. Ethan is worried because her personal items such as her pocketbook, laptop and phone are still in the house. It seems unlikely that his wife would leave so suddenly and he is worried about her safety.
After the disappearance is reported, their friends are quick to blame Ethan. They have listened to Sutton complain about their volatile marriage along with Ethan's poor behavior. With fingers being pointed in every direction, the lies and secrets unfold when the police begin to investigate.
This novel by J.T. Ellison is a fast paced mystery with plenty of twists and turns. The perspective switches from husband to wife about half way through the story creating a unique way to reveal all the clues.
When Ethan woke up, he couldn’t find his wife in their house. He thought maybe she went for a run but then he found a note! His wife asked him to leave her alone and don’t go after her. But the thing is she didn’t take her things with herself, her wallet, her phone, her laptop, her clothes… And there was some money missing from their bank account. He called her friends, her mother but they didn’t know anything. Ethan was scared to call the police because you know, the husband is always the first person they will look at. But after losing their child and some issues with her work, Ethan was scared she hurt herself. So, he eventually called the police and then everything changed!
When I started this story it reminded me of another story (the similarity was so much, I didn’t read that book I just saw the movie) but then everything changed and I found out I was wrong about it. Nonetheless it was so predictable and I guessed it so early in the story. I just didn’t know the reasons and that was interesting. The writing was good, it had my attention till the end. Told in multiple POV, 3rd person. It’s a standalone novel. All in all, I enjoyed it and hope you like it as well!
4.5/5 stars - I loved this book!!! This is "popcorn reading" in the best possible way - it's addictive and binge-worthy, and full of plot twists and drama. This domestic thriller kept me hooked from the first page to the last! Read my full thoughts in my review here: http://crimebythebook.com/blog/2017/6...
Here it comes...a spouting, passionate tirade about how Lie to Me continues to portray women as victims combined with an insane and ridiculous plot that puts Lifetime to shame.
** Oh, some spoilers coming - keep the barf bucket close by **
Lie to Me is divided into two parts.
In part one, we are introduced to Ethan Montclair, who finds a note from his wife, Sutton, saying she has left and not to search for her.
This is alarming since she has not brought any of her personal possessions with her.
We are privy to Ethan's thoughts, how their marriage was suffering due to his adulterous affair and the sudden death of their infant son.
We are given a brief rundown of how they met, a hookup based on sexual chemistry (fine, no problem, totally believable but a sudden marriage based on what? His penis in her vagina?) and his remarks on her strange mood swings and desire not to have a child, which he believes will save their marriage.
Barf Moment #1: So, what does he do? He substitutes her birth control pills with sugar pills and gets her pregnant.
Wow, what a standup guy.
Not only an adulterer but a rapist; not only a whiny, bratty, handsome (natch) asshole, but he justifies his act of sexual violence by saying his wife wanted a child but she needed to be persuaded. Yes, by taking away his wife's right to consent.
Sutton's friends are convinced Ethan had a hand in making his wife disappear (no, he didn't, he's just a rapist), so when a burned body is discovered in a field, he is arrested for his wife's murder.
In Part 2, we find Sutton sitting high and pretty in a Paris apartment. Wheee!
She got here with the help of a friend and fake documents, and almost immediately hooks up with a handsome (natch) stranger.
But wait, her promiscuous behavior is justified because she references this still yet unnamed mental illness, categorizing it as a vague mood disorder that makes her crave intimacy and attention and affection. Ohhhhh-kay.
While Sutton is playing her version of Samantha in SaTC she alludes to having a mental illness but the potential to explain and help us empathize with her outrageous behavior is barely utilized, minus a few sentences.
That was Barf Moment #2.
Readers are lucky enough to get unnecessary details of Sutton's hookup who has a larger and wider penis than Ethan (thanks for that but why do we need to know?) and she's kind of sore because of his amazing penis.
Are we having a FS0G moment here?
This has no relevance on moving the plot forward except to mention Ethan sucks in bed. Good to know.
Of course, make the main female character cray cray because its such a popular literary device it needs to be used by every other author I've read this year, not to mention the author is demeaning people who have serious mental illnesses that cause real harm to people and their families.
Thanks for doing the research, Ms. Ellison. I can see it all through this book.
That's Barf Moment #3.
Then, that's when the party happens. A tourist couple is murdered and Sutton is arrested for their brutal, bloody deaths.
The murder weapon is found in her possession and she realizes someone is framing her, someone who is very close to her.
Dun dun dun!!! Barf #4.
And, if you think it can't get any cheesier, wait, I haven't finished pouring the Velveeta yet.
Barf Moment #5.
Sutton explains her deep, dark past (GASP! She had a baby out of wedlock!) and the psycho who has engineered her arrest is none other than her long lost daughter! She is SO MAD her mother abandoned her. Spitting mad. Like, really, really mad, in case you couldn't tell.
Wow, I mean, wow, I actually had to put the book down to laugh at this point. And I laughed HARD.
I mean, didn't I see this plot in a soap opera years ago?
It sounds so familiar. Actually, now that I think about it, it might be from another book. Hmmm...
The ending is no less what you expect from a telenovela though I may be dissing the effort and talent that goes into a telenovela so I apologize in advance.
Everything is explained in a 1-2 punch that is supposed to make everything all right:
The baby's death wasn't their fault!
The random hookup was the accomplice of her insane daughter!
Sutton is not mentally ill, just misdiagnosed. Isn't that kooky? It explains her promiscuous behavior so all is forgiven!
Oh, wait, her daughter really isn't her daughter because of misleading information!
Got all that?!
Now, not only did the author give me a story that I couldn't suspend disbelief for, she didn't have the decency to do the research on mental illness, craft believable, strong female characters and not portray all men as sexual predators.
Instead, Sutton returns to her rape-y husband because she's pregnant, but its his! Trust her. And after everything, you know what, they realize that they really love each other.
Cue the Mariah Carey song: We belong togetherrrrr!
Can't you feel the love?
Oh, wait, sorry, that's puke. And I got to clean out this bucket. Its full.